Student Organizations

3341-2-36 Student Organizations

All University Units

Responsible Unit:
Office of Campus Activites

Policy Administrator:
Associate Dean of Students

(A) Policy Statement and Purpose

This policy outlines how students may register an organization, the appeal process if a proposed organization is initially denied registration, under what circumstances registration may be withdrawn, and memberships, financial responsibility, advisor and meeting requirements.

(B) Policy

Student organizations are an important link in the co-curricular activities of Bowling Green State University. They should contribute to the personal development and enjoyment of their members within the context of the broader teaching, research and service missions of Bowling Green State University. Any student group wishing to take advantage of privileges granted by Bowling Green State University must register with the Office of Campus Activities. Students interested in registering a student organization should contact the Office of Campus Activities, 401 Bowen-Thompson Student Union, for specific information on the registration process. All groups which meet university requirements for student organizations will be permitted to register. The Division of Student Affairs is committed to providing support and assistance to all student organizations properly registered with the university. The initial step in receiving this support is the completion of the annual registration process. Registrations expire annually on June thirtieth unless new registration material has been submitted to the Office of Campus Activities.

(C) Student Organization Categories

(1) Academic Affiliated - Groups in this category are often linked to an academic program or administrative office in a formal manner. They are often affiliated with a specific major, field of study, or university function.

(2) Arts – Groups in this category have a primary mission of engaging in activities involving fine, liberal, visual, decorative, applied, design, craft, and performing arts.

(3) Cultural - Groups in this category have a primary mission or purpose to raise cultural awareness, respect for diversity, or foster a sense of community.

(4) Governing - Groups in this category have been recognized by the university as serving to coordinate the endeavors of other registered organizations. These organizations are ineligible for funding from the Student Budget Committee.

(5) Honorary - Groups in this category have been recognized by the university Honors and Awards Committee as an approved BGSU honorary. These organizations recognize excellence in areas including leadership, service, or scholastic achievement.

(6) Political/Social Issues - Groups in this category serve to raise awareness and engagement around topics of a political issue, affiliation, or cause. These groups encourage voter education and activism on campus.

(7) Professional/Career – Groups in this category help students advance knowledge and skills associated with a particular career, job, or trade.

(8) Recreational – Groups in this category provide an outlet for students to engage in leisure activities.

(9) Residential - Groups in this category support the on-campus residential student population through programming and advocacy. They are affiliated with the Office of Residence Life in a formal manner. Residential organizations are ineligible for funding from the Student Budget Committee. 

(10) Philanthropic/Service/Volunteerism - Groups in this category have a primary mission or purpose to collect and donate resources for humanitarian purposes, perform community service, or to coordinate volunteer opportunities.

(11) Service - Groups in this category have a primary mission or purpose to perform community service or to coordinate volunteer opportunities.

(12) Social Fraternity or Sorority – The minimum number of members required for organizations within this category is defined within the Greek Standards of Excellence. In addition, these groups are advised by staff from the Office of Campus Activities and are not required to have a faculty or staff advisor. They are affiliated with an inter/national organization, must have tax-exempt status under Section 501(c) (7) of the Internal Revenue Code, and must limit membership to currently enrolled students at the university. Social fraternity and sorority organizations are ineligible for funding from the Student Budget Committee. The U.S. Department of Education has established the following criteria for classification as a social fraternity or sorority:

(a) Organization does not limit membership to persons pursuing or having interest in a particular field of study, profession or academic discipline;

(b) Organization does not serve as an honorary society for academic, leadership, or any other endeavor; and

(c) Organization does not permit members to hold membership in other social sororities or fraternities.

(13) Special Interest - Groups in this category do not easily fit within the other defined categories. They are a formed by a group of students who share a common interest and a commitment to an articulated mission and purpose for the organization.

(14) Spiritual - Groups in this category have a primary mission or purpose for religious or spiritual sharing, growth, or education.

(15) Sport Club - Groups in this category participate in athletic competitions, including organized practices and skill development. Membership is restricted to current BGSU students only. These groups are required to be affiliated with Sports Club Programs in the Department of Recreation and Wellness, and the groups’ primary advisory will be a staff member from that department.

(D) Registration of Student Organizations

Registration is a means by which student organizations may receive standard privileges granted when certain minimum requirements are met; it does not imply university approval of the student organization’s purpose, function or activities.

(1) Registration Privileges

(a) Standard privileges are granted to all student organizations that complete the registration process. They include:

(i) Use of university facilities

(a) large event spaces and gymnasiums may carry additional fees

(ii) Opportunity to apply for university funds and pouring rights funding in accordance with university rules and regulations

(iii) Use of resources provided by the Office of Campus Activities, including OrgSync

(iv) Inclusion in university publications, directories and distribution materials

(v) Ten percent discount on selected catering through BGSU Dining

(vi) An opportunity to participate in university organization fairs

(vii) Eligible for on-campus fund-raising activities

(viii) Opportunity to obtain student organization mailbox, office and/or storage space in the Bowen-Thompson Student Union

(2) Student organizations wishing to register with the university must submit the following information to the Office of Campus Activities.

(a) Submit the appropriate registration files, including a list of the organization’s officers as listed in its constitution, and a full-time member of the faculty or staff indicating his or her willingness to serve as advisor to the organization.

(b) Submit the full roster of the organization’s membership. The organization must have at least ten university students as active members. Organizational membership may be composed of BGSU faculty and staff but a minimum of seventy five percent of the membership must be comprised of BGSU students. Organizations that are unable to meet these minimum criteria will need to schedule a meeting with staff from the Office of Campus Activities to create a recruitment plan.

(c) Submit one copy of the organization’s ratified constitution. A recommended format is available from the Office of Campus Activities. Organizations should keep this document on file and must provide the Office of Campus Activities with an updated copy each time the document is revised.

(d) Students wishing to start an organization may request organization privileges for thirty days to organize and meet the requirements for registration. The Office of Campus Activities will provide advising support during this formation period.

(e) Student organizations wishing to register may be required to meet with staff from the Office of Campus Activities to jointly develop a one-page written plan to assist the organization in its development. The plan may include, but is not limited to, attendance at workshops, completion of a recruitment action plan and participation in leadership training. The written plan must be on file with the Office of Campus Activities in order for the organization to be in good standing.

(E) Denial of Initial Registration

If the Office of Campus Activities determines that the organization’s activities are detrimental to the educational mission of the university, registration may be denied. If registration is denied by the Office of Campus Activities, the president and advisor of the applying organization shall be notified of the decision in writing. The applying organization may appeal in writing to the Dean of Students within five university working days from the date of the denial letter. The decision of the Dean of Students is final.

(F) Withdrawal/Suspension Registration

The registration of an organization may be withdrawn/suspended by the Office of Campus Activities for non-compliance with policies pertaining to student organizations, the Code of Student Conduct and other university regulations. The procedure for such withdrawal/suspension is:

(1) The primary contact for the organization and its faculty/staff advisor shall be notified in writing of the proposed action to withdraw/suspend registration, the effective date of this action and the reason(s) for the proposed action.

(2) The decision of the Office of Campus Activities to withdraw/suspend registration from an organization may be appealed by the organization, in writing, to the Dean of Students within five university working days from the date of notification of withdrawal of registration. If an appeal is not filed within the time limit, the decision of the Office of Campus Activities will be final.

(3) The decision of the Dean of Students is final.

(4) If a student organization loses official recognition from its national/international organization, it will also cease to be registered by the university; loss of university registration in this manner will be effective at least as long as the national/international suspension is in effect.

(G) Student Organization Requirements

(1) Membership in student organizations shall be open to students of BGSU without regard to race, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, color, national origin, ancestry, genetic information, pregnancy, religion, age, marital status, disability, or status as a veteran. Any grievance regarding alleged discrimination should be reported to the Office of the Dean of Students, 301 Bowen-Thompson Student Union, 419-372-2843 or the Office of Equity and Diversity, 140 McFall Center, 419-372-8476.

(2) Designated social fraternal organizations are exempted by federal law from Title IX Regulations concerning discrimination on the basis of sex.

(3) Student organizations are to make a reasonable effort to inform the university community of their membership criteria and processes, including membership application deadlines. Outreach efforts to groups that are typically underrepresented in student organizations should be made.

(4) Selection criteria must be relevant to the goals and objectives of the organization.

(5) Officers of student organizations must be full-time BGSU students, in good conduct standing, and maintain a minimum cumulative 2.25 GPA. The GPA required by their organization’s local or national constitution may be higher than the university’s requirement, and the officers and advisors are expected to enforce such requirement. Officers are defined as elected or appointed members who carry official titles and responsibilities germane to the organization, including but not limited to titles such as: President, Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer, Chairperson, Senator, etc. Appeals for exceptions to this policy may be made to the Associate Dean of Students. The decision of the Associate Dean is final.

(6) Organizations may have as many officer roles as required by their organization’s constitution but those roles must include a president and a treasurer (or titled roles which fulfill the duties of those two positions). The president and treasurer may not be the same person.

(H) Financial Management and Accountability

(1) Student organizations interested in requesting university funding or accessing funds in a university account are required to have their president and/or treasurer attend annually a treasurer’s training. The president and/or treasurer will understand and comply with university policies related to initiating contracts. Organizations may also complete an alternative plan approved by the Office of Campus Activities prior to submitting a request for funding and/or accessing university funds. Expenses incurred on-campus (e.g., Bookstore or BGSU Dining charges) must be directly billed to the organization and submitted to the Office of Campus Activities. All other expenses, including travel arrangements, must be submitted to the Office of Campus Activities, and the staff will coordinate the payment process. All funds allocated to the organization from university controlled sources must be maintained in a university account and spent in accordance with university policies and procedures.  

(2) Pre-loaded Debit Cards

Registered student organizations with non-university allocated funds (i.e., agency or revenue dollars) in a university account may request one pre-loaded debit card. The use of debit cards must comply with all university policies and procedures. Each transaction must be reconciled with the Office of Campus Activities. Failure to adhere to these expectations will result in the student organization forfeiting its right to have a debit card.

(3) Contracts

Authority to obligate the university by contract in all matters relating to registered student organizations lies solely with the Division of Student Affairs. All contracts involving registered student organizations’ funds managed by the university must be submitted to the Office of Campus Activities no later than 4 weeks prior to the event or contracted date, for signature by the Vice President for Student Affairs (or designee) after approval from the university’s General Counsel (if applicable). The Vice President for Student Affairs (or designee) is the ONLY person who can sign contracts for registered student organizations. This review is established for the protection of the organization, its officers and members, and the university. Some service providers may not be eligible for use by student organizations because of existing contractual relationships the University has with other vendors. To expedite the contract review and signature process, all student organizations must use the approved Performance/Service Agreement Template provided by the Office of Campus Activities. The Vice President for Student Affairs (or designee) must preapprove the use of any contract that differs from this template. Note, to enter into any agreement, the Office of Campus Activities requires that a student organization be able to financially cover the cost of any contract without relying on projected revenue (e.g., ticket sales). A student organization might consider co-sponsorship with another organization to secure needed funds.

(4) Independent Contractors

Student organizations may not use funds to contract with individuals/entities, excluding currently enrolled Bowling Green State University students, in a way that would create an employment relationship. Accordingly, all individuals/entities must follow the university’s Purchasing policies and meet criteria as an Independent Contractor. 

(5) Organizations must maintain records of how their funds are generated and disbursed. This includes an account of the amount of funds, the methods by which funds are generated and expended, and an account of the amount and object of expenditures. Organizations are to keep receipts for moneys collected.

(6) The Office of Campus Activities may request financial records from any registered student organization for the purpose of upholding the Student Budget Committee policies, university rules and regulations, as well as state and federal laws.

(7) Organization members shall have the right to know how their money is being spent. The treasurer should keep detailed financial records and make them available to members, the advisor(s), Office of Campus Activities, as well as local, state, and federal officials upon request.

(8) All records associated with university fund allocations and expenses are available for public inspection as required by state law.

(9) Organizations must pay all debts incurred in the name of the organization within sixty days.

(10) Student organizations are encouraged to work collaboratively and form partnerships with other student organizations and university departments. Student organizations may intentionally seek cosponsorships from other organizations and/or departments; however, blanket solicitation is not permitted. Blanket solicitation includes sending out generic co-sponsorship letters to departments and organizations. Co-sponsorships are permitted when the student organization and/or department being asked for co-sponsorship has (a) a significant role in the planning of the event; (b) the program is identified as an annual department or organization goal or strategy, or (c) the mission complements the mission of the organization. When co-sponsoring an initiative with other organizations or departments, an official written agreement is highly encouraged. Such agreement should outline the terms of the collaboration as well as the expectations for all parties.

(11) Student organizations may not use funds to contract with individuals/entities in a way that would create an employment relationship. Accordingly, all individuals/entities must follow the university’s Purchasing policies and meet criteria as Independent Contractor. 

(I) Organization Advisor

(1) All student organizations are required to have an advisor who is a full-time staff or faculty member at BGSU. Graduate students may not serve as primary advisors to student organizations.

(2) Within the context of the broader mission and policies of the university, advisors shall share insights and directions that allow student organizations to further their objectives and enhance the meaningfulness of organization membership.

(3) Specific responsibilities of the advisor shall be to: regularly attend general and executive board meetings; provide guidance to the officers; oversee all financial transactions of the organization; ensure that officers meet the minimum requirements for holding office as established by the university and the organization’s constitution and by-laws; provide consultation concerning membership selection procedures, and responsibilities; review the organizations registration.

(J) Meetings and Activities

(1) Each student organization and its members and officers are responsible for coordinating the activities of the group. This includes:

(2) Planning all programs and activities, including associated facilities and equipment rentals.

(3) Managing and accounting for all funds under the organization’s account.

(4) In the case of sport clubs or groups that engage in physical activity, the group must make sure all rules and safety procedures are followed and in accordance with university policies. They must also obtain, maintain and inspect all necessary equipment, make sure all required training related to equipment usage is completed, and assure that prompt medical attention is available when necessary.

(5) No meetings or activities are permitted from five p.m. the Friday before each week of final exams through the end of the final exam period.

Registered Date: March 12, 2015
Amended Dates: February 22, 2016, September 15, 2016